Chihuahua to Los Mochis: the Copper Canyon

Mexico's Copper Canyon is a land of staggering mountain-top vistas where sky, space and geological grandeur threaten to swallow you whole. A labyrinthine network of vast canyons, jagged gorges and turquoise rivers, it is simultaneously rugged and ethereal, tempered by violent elements and carved out of the land like a sublime work of art. Mining towns, lost in time, fade into gentle obscurity, dwindling on the edge of winding mule trails. Remote Rarámuri communities are punctuated by fields of golden maize and diminutive wooden houses. Old missions - painted in indigenous motifs and attended by sparsely settled villages - stand desolate in a world of weird rocks and vertical cliff faces, all mottled with moss and minerals and fierce little flowers. Outdoor enthusiasts will find much to occupy them here: hiking, biking, rock-climbing, fishing, and, as the canyon systems empty into the slow-moving Río Fuerte, kayaking. But no trip to canyon country is complete without riding the Chihuahua al Pacifíco railway, a stretch of track that steers right through the mountains as far as the Pacific coast. A truly impressive engineering feat, it offers superlative views of the great chasms, waterfalls and lakes that comprise this unrelenting but entrancing land. The railway's eastern terminus, Chihuahua, is outside the copper canyon, but makes a decent place to rest up before or after forays. It is the capital of Chihuahua state and home to several interesting museums, as well as an unprecedented host of leather shops. Time to purchase some cowboy boots and get into the Wild West spirit.
This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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